A pergola can be built as a freestanding structure supported by four or more posts, or it can be attached to a house and supported by posts on the outside end. If the latter, the posts must be supported by concrete footings called piers, which extend below the frost line (the depth to which the ground freezes in winter. Pressure-treated lumber is perhaps the best all-around lumber to use for a pergola and other outdoor structures. It's inexpensive, strong and highly rot-resistant, and you can use it for every part of the pergola---from the posts to the overhead lattice slats.
Things You'll Need
- Basic carpentry tools
- Excavation tools
- Post bases
- 4 x 4, 4 x 6 or 6 x 6 posts
- 2 x 6 or larger lumber
- 2 x 4 or larger lumber
- 2 x 2 lumber
- Lag screws
- Washers and/or Z-flashing
- 1/2-inch carriage bolts
- Joist hangers and nails
- Framing nails
- 3 1/2-inch deck screws
How to Build an Attached Pergola
Lay out the post locations, then dig holes and pour the concrete piers, following the local building code requirements. Anchor the posts to the piers with metal post bases, and brace the posts with temporary supports.
Cut a 2 x 6 or larger ledger board to run the full length of the pergola. Mark a level line on the house wall. Cut and remove the siding in the ledger area (and install Z-flashing) if necessary, or plan to use washers behind the ledger to allow for drainage and airflow. Anchor the ledger to the house wall at each stud location, using lag screws.
Install a beam between the posts, sandwiching the posts with two 2 x 6s or larger members and fastening with 1/2-inch carriage bolts. If necessary, install angled knee braces between the posts and beam for lateral support. Mark the layout of the rafters onto the beam and ledger, spacing them at 12 inches or as desired. Install metal joist hangers onto the ledger, as directed by the manufacturer.
Cut 2 x 4 or larger rafters to length and install them on their layout marks, fastening them to the joist hangers and both beam members with framing nails. Install 2 x 2 lattice slats running perpendicular to the rafters, at the desired spacing. Fasten the slats with 3 1/2-inch deck screws.
- "Start-to-Finish Patios;" Meredith Books; 2004
- Photo Credit pergola image by titi78430 from Fotolia.com
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